Living Large

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You know, every time I want to complain about something that I either have too much of or too little of or it's the wrong color or the wrong size or, or. You get the picture. I sometimes fail to appreciate exactly what I do have. Fortunately for me I have been married to a lady for 45 years who has a great knack for keeping me grounded. When I start to complain she will usually remind me of the man who complained that he had no shoes until he met a man with no feet. If my complaint deals with something that I need to get a job here on the ranch done and it's not in our budget then I have to dust off my thinking cap and find a way around it and still get things done. It usually works out fine. One example is that I needed a barn large enough to store hay in, be able to have plenty of room for my goats and still have a little room to store tools and equipment. I also needed a water source for the animals and I needed electricity for obvious reasons.

My wife gasped, fanned herself and sat down in time to avoid fainting when I told her what the cost was going to run. My poor wife managed to sputter out an old oriental saying, "The rich man is the man who has enough". I replied that I didn't have enough that's why I mentioned the above. Her reply to me was "Well sweetie, you are going to have to figure out a way to get it done without that kind of money."

At the top of a small hill there was an old pole barn that was 45 feet wide and 120 feet long. The problem was that the barn had not been maintained at all in over 25 years. The poles on one end had rotted off at the ground and that end was sagging badly and causing the entire building to lean in that direction. There were missing support blocks throughout the building. I thought that the thing was going to collapse so I had written off ever using it. To top it off there was a stinky old dead sheep carcass in there. It had died and was just left to rot away by a fellow that used the barn for his sheep before it started showing signs of falling down. I decided to have a small contractor friend take a look and tell me if it could be salvaged or if it was a dangerous nuisance that just needed to be taken down. To my surprise he told me that with a little help he could save it and probably get another ten to fifteen years out of it. ( Let's see, I'm 66 and when I think of how much I spend on Advil and other medications I figure the building may out live me.)

The economy was really bad and he was scrambling for work. He agreed to right the building for two thousand dollars. For an extra $600.00 he would put rain gutters back on it for me.

It is nice to have friends. I am sure no one else would have gotten prices like that. He did get the building standing back up and the rotten post were cut off and sat back down on cement footers with metal anchors to bolt to. He went through the building and replaced all of the missing support blocks and the roof line looks almost completely straight. I used a lot of old boards and a few new ones to rearrange one half of the barn into different pen areas with gates. I even managed to set up a pen for isolating a few of the goats when I need to. I use the front half of the barn for storing hay and I turned several old sheep feeder areas into small storage rooms for tools and equipment. He put the rain gutters on for me as he promised. I solved most of my water problem by moving a 1500 gallon domestic water tank from an orchard area that no longer needed it to the barn and installed a downspout from the gutter system to the tank. I rounded up an old empty 1000 gallon molasses tank and lined it with a huge pond liner that I had been storing for years and placed it under another downspout. The two downspouts in the rear of the building each have small livestock tanks that were sitting around doing nothing on other parts of the ranch. There is a domestic water line that runs to the building but I need to run it as little as possible because it is from the water well that serves my home. I solved my electricity problem by watching ads on Craig's list and bought a great 6000watt generator for $350.00. Almost all of the gates that I used came from Craig's List purchases as well. The barn does everything I needed it to do.

The total cost was under $4000.00. It may not be pretty and new and I'll never win any awards for my carpentry but I still feel like I'm Living Large.

My wife is a saint by the way. Thank's honey for always pointing me in the right direction. Until next time, find something to laugh about, it's good for the spirit, soul and body. If you would like to know more about us and the livestock we raise, please visit us on the web at:



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